Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - Book Review #79

Sunday, September 12, 2010
Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

“The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden. “

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnights runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do...

I decided to reread Fahrenheit 451 because of the couple of reasons. First, the upcoming Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read made me think about it. Second, since the first time I read it as a requirement for the school in the fifth grade, I couldn’t remember anything about it, except that it was about book burning.

On the surface it certainly was about book burning and no wonder I didn’t get anything else out of it in the fifth grade (my god, who is in their sane mind made this book a requirement for the fifth grader?). Fahrenheit 451 is a great and tiny book, yet it contains the world of wisdom. In the depth, Fahrenheit 451 is about so much more – it is about degraded society, like one of the characters pointed out – the government doesn’t do anything that people isn’t already calling for; it is about hard choices and tough decisions, when you should or shouldn’t cross the line, where is that line, does it even exists; it is about search for the truth and certainly it is about books and why they are so important for the society.

And really, why books are important? They are always subjective, they don’t give you any answers, not revealing the ultimate truth, which does not exists anyway, unless 42 satisfies you. For me the importance of the books is they make me think. Their subjectivity raises discussions and as French say - De la discussion jaillit la lumière - Out of discussion springs forth the light. I’m always shocked and puzzled when another person tells me that he or she doesn’t read for pleasure. I’m puzzled because I can’t understand where they are getting their food for thought. I’m shocked, because somehow when people tell me about that, they are always wearing that proud satisfaction on their faces, same as you would have if you tell people that you won Olympics or Nobel Prize. What are they are proud about – is still the question I cannot answer.

So read, my friends, think and dream; and don’t let anyone or anything ever dictate you what you should or should not read, what you should or should not think.


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